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Cholera strikes 6 aboard flight from Peru; 1 dead

Health officials on Thursday were searching for passengers of a flight from South America to Los Angeles on which cholera struck at least six people, one fatally.

Another 23 people from the Feb. 14 Aerolineas Argentinas Flight 386 have exhibited symptoms, said Shirley Fannin, a Los Angeles County health official. She said officials needed to locate other passengers to find out how the disease was spread. Fifty-two of the 336 passengers and crew had called the county health office by Thursday, Fannin said.

A 70-year-old man died Tuesday, two days after being hospitalized with cholera. Five other cholera cases were reported among passengers on the flight, which left Buenos Aires, Argentina, and stopped in Lima, Peru, en route to Los Angeles.

Two of the victims had the same seafood dish while aboard the aircraft, officials said. Cholera can be transmitted through raw or undercooked seafood from polluted water.

All but 39 of the passengers listed final destinations in the United States. The rest were en route to Canada or Japan.

Cholera can take as long as five days for symptoms _ dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea _ to develop. It is treatable. A cholera epidemic broke out in Peru in January 1991, spreading throughout Latin America.

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